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Sep 21, 2021 at 7.45pm UK
PrestonPreston North End
CheltenhamCheltenham Town
Hughes (25'), Rafferty (37'), Maguire (82'), Riis Jakobsen (90+3')
Rudd (85')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Vassell (56')
Barkers (28'), Thomas (32'), Vassell (90+2')

Preview: Preston North End vs. Cheltenham Town - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Preston North End vs. Cheltenham Town - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Tuesday's EFL Cup clash between Preston North End and Cheltenham Town, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Cheltenham Town are in EFL Cup third-round action for the first time ever on Tuesday evening with a trip to Preston North End.

The Robins have defeated Bristol Rovers and Gillingham to reach this stage, while Preston have so far seen off Mansfield Town and Morecambe.

Match preview

For the first time in 22 attempts, Cheltenham advanced past the second round of this competition with a penalty-shootout victory over Gillingham last month.

Alfie May cancelled out Vadaine Oliver's opener and Michael Duff's men held their nerve from the spot to set up this showdown with Championship side Preston.

It is worth pointing out that none of the last five teams playing their first-ever third-round tie in the EFL Cup have progressed to the last 16.

Town will be eager to put that right on Tuesday, though, and they enter this game in good form thanks to back-to-back wins over Charlton Athletic and Oxford United in the league.

Those wins have lifted the Robins up to ninth in the League One standings, one point off the playoffs as they seek a second straight promotion into the Championship.

Preston have more experience of competing at this stage, with this their third successive season in the last 32, though not since 2016-17 have they gone any further.

The Lilywhites are unbeaten in their last six matches in all competitions, drawing the last three of those against Bristol City, Sheffield United and West Bromwich Albion.

Taking a point off West Brom on Saturday can be considered a positive result for Frankie McAvoy's charges, with Ben Whiteman on target for Preston before Matt Phillips levelled up.

Those run of draws have not done much to improve North End's position in the Championship, though, as they find themselves down in 17th place, only two points above the dropzone.

However, facing lower-league opposition for the third round running, this visit of Cheltenham provides Preston with an opportunity to prolong their cup run for at least a few more weeks.

Preston North End EFL Cup form:
  • W
  • W

Preston North End form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • D

Cheltenham Town EFL Cup form:
  • W
  • W

Cheltenham Town form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • W

Team News

Preston trio Matthew Olosunde, Izzy Brown and Tom Barkhuizen have been struggling with injury issues and are not likely to be risked against Cheltenham.

After rotating his side in the opening two rounds, McAvoy will surely be tempted to field a strong XI on Tuesday with the last 16 in sight.

That could see minimal changes from the 1-1 draw against West Brom, though Connor Wickham is pushing for a recall up top.

Josh Murphy has made a few substitute appearances since joining last month, but he is cup-tied having already represented Cardiff City in the competition this term.

As for Cheltenham, they have a fully-fit group to choose from and Duff may well go with the same lineup that faced Oxford on Saturday.

Callum Wright may come back into Duff's thoughts, but Kyle Joseph assisted May's winner last time out and will be confident of keeping his place up top.

Preston North End possible starting lineup:
Iversen; Hughes, Bauer, Storey; Van den Berg, Whiteman, Ledson, Earl; Johnson; Jakobsen, Wickham

Cheltenham Town possible starting lineup:
Flinders; Long, Pollock, Boyle; Blair, Perry, Thomas, Chapman, Hussey; May, Joseph

We say: Preston North End 2-0 Cheltenham Town

Cheltenham have hit a good patch of form thanks to a couple of wins on the spin, but this trip to Deepdale is a far bigger challenge than what they have faced so far in the cup.

Preston may well name a strong side on the back of three straight league draws and we are backing them to come out on top in this first ever encounter between the teams.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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